The frost is thick on the roof next door. It’s 39F, now, but before sunrise it was 34! The garden is wilting down. A lot of the plants are giving up after this deep a frost. The herbs keep right on going, but some of the small stuff and flowers have quit. I’ll have to check on the fennel.
A lot got done yesterday, but not what I had planned. I had the headers ready for the black copal, and pulled out the “headering” equipment just about first thing. My first batch was a partially done one from last week, some misc. crystals. I got that finished and into the inventory and Tempus got them hung. Next was the black copal and *that’s* all done, complete with a jar for us to use. A lot of that is in *big* chunks, several ounces per! After that I finally pulled out the amber pieces that I bought the next to last time Quasar was here! Those are all weighed, bagged and sorted, but I have to print headers so Tempus can work on those on Thursday.
While all that was going on, Tempus was supposed to have gone home…. he didn’t… in the course of finding some things for me and helping me sort the office space to what we’re trying for, he got started looking in boxes in the back and then sorting and then re-stacking. That looks a *lot* better in the storage corner! …but none of the home stuff got done… I’m hoping that will go better today.
We left the shop 7-ish and it was only 49F and very, very clear except for deep red clouds out on the horizon. Venus was bright in the west, and when we got up to the house, away from the streetlamps, I could see Cygnus flying above and Perseus trying to catch up!
Tempus had to pump up a tire on his car again and then gas it up for morning after we got home. I started in with shop paperwork, writing checks and getting a deposit ready. After that, while he was working on supper, I got back to setting up for the website changes that are going with the new embroidery kit.
Today we have chores and I have kit assembly. Obviously I’m going to have to wrk in the garden for a bit, too.
Today’s Plant is Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea, sometimes called Life-Everlasting. The “everlasting” part of the name comes from the fact that the flowers dry well and can be used as decorations during the winter month. There are a number of medicinal uses for this plant, particularly as poultices and often as a decoction added to a hot bag of some sort (iow, put it on a washcloth, warm and put a heating pad on top of that) for bruises, sprains and to the chest for bronchitis, among others – Feminine, Venus, Air – Add to spells that are long-term. Can be useful in a sachet/potpourri/amulet since the flowers will soak up essential oils and release the scent over time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anaphalis_margaritacea
Today in 1929 was Black Tuesday, the day of the Stock Market Crash that led into the Great Depression. Nobody is completely sure what caused it, even yet, although there are some darned good analyses out there of the “run-up”. One of the better statement’s about it is in Robert Heinlein’s writings. “How do you control an engine by positive feedback?” “You don’t! I would run out of control!” “There’s nothing a government can do that doesn’t work like positive feedback on an engine.” There’s a good article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Tuesday
The shop is closed on Tuesday/Wednesday! Winter hours are 11am-5pm Thursday through Monday, although we’ll be closing at sunset as that creeps backwards to 5pm. If we’re supposed to be closed, but it looks like we’re there, try the door. If it’s open, the shop’s open! In case of bad weather, check here at the blog for updates, on our Facebook as Ancient Light or call the shop at 541-563-7154.
Love & Light,
Today’s Astro & Calendar
The Moon is a Waning Crescent. Waning Moon Magick –From the Full Moon to the New is a time for study, meditation, and magic designed to banish harmful energies and habits, for ridding oneself of addictions, illness or negativity. Remember: what goes up must come down. Phase ends at the Tide Change on 11/1 at 4:50am PST. Waning Crescent Moon –Best time for beginning introspective magicks that are more long term (full year cycle) A good time for beginning knot magicks to “bind up” addictions and illness (finish just before the Tide Change of Dark to New) and “tying up loose ends” God/dess aspects – Demeter weeping for her Daughter, Mabon, Arachne Tyr. Phase ends on 10/29 at 4:50pm. Hecate’s Brooch – 3-5 days before New Moon – Best time for Releasing Rituals. It’s the last few days before the new moon, the time of Hecate’s Brooch. This is the time that if you’re going to throw something out, or sweep the floors, or take stuff to Good Will, do it! Rid yourself of negativity and work on the letting go process. Release the old, removing unwanted negative energies, addictions, or illness. Do physical and psychic cleansings. Good for wisdom & psychic ability. Goddess Aspect: Crone Associated God/desses: Callieach, Banshee, Hecate, Baba Yaga, Ereshkigal, Thoth. Phase ends on 11/1 at 4:50pm.
Look high in the northeast after dark for Cassiopeia standing on end. With the Moon out of the evening sky, now’s a fine time to hunt some of Cassiopeia’s star clusters and nebulae; see Sue French’s Deep-Sky Wonders column, chart, and photos in the November Sky & Telescope, page 54. http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/newtrack/st_201311/
Mars (magnitude 1.5) rises around 2 or 3 a.m. near Regulus (magnitude 1.4) in Leo. By dawn they’re high in the east. Mars and Regulus are moving farther apart now, from a separation of 6° on October 26 to 11° on November 2nd. In a telescope Mars is just a tiny blob 5 arcseconds wide.
Goddess Month of Hathor runs from 10/3 – 10/30
Goddess Month of Cailleach/Samhain runs from 10/31 – 11/27
Celtic Tree month of Ngetal/Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24
Runic half-month of Hagalaz/Hagal – October 29-Novmber 12 – The Runic half-month of Hagal commences today, represented by the hailstone of transformation. It is a harbinger of the need to undergo the necessary preparations before the harsh northern Winter.
©2013 M. Bartlett, Some parts separately copyright
Ngetal Reed Oct 28 – Nov 24 – nGéadal – (NYEH-dl), reed – The term “reed” is used with great imprecision in North America, but it is clear that the reed of the ogham is the common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steudel). This is a giant grass, with stems as high as 4 m (13 feet). It grows in marshy areas, where it often forms dense stands. Like most other grasses, the vertical stems live only a single year, dying in the autumn and being replaced with new green shoots in the spring. The dead stems rattle and whisper in late autumn winds. Common reed has spread as a weed throughout the world; in North America it is widespread in cooler climates. Common reed is in the Grass family (Poaceae, or Gramineae).
“The Reed Month, is said by some to be most favorable for communication with ancestral spirits and the strengthening of all family ties, with magickal associations with fertility, love, protection, and family concerns. ‘Thin and slender is the Reed. He stands in clumps at the edge of the river and between his feet hides the swift pike awaiting an unsuspecting minnow to come his way. In his thinness the reed resembles arrows that fly, silver-tipped, up into the unknown air to land at the very source that one had searched for all these years. Firing arrows off into the unknown is an expression of the desire to search out basic truths. If you loose off without direction, the place of landing will be random. If the firing off is carried out with the correct conviction, determination and sense of purpose, then the act becomes secondary to the event that comes both before and after the moment.'” Source: Earth, Moon and Sky
Ngetal – Reed Ogam letter correspondences
Color: Grass Green
Meaning: Upsets or surprises
to study this month Mor – the Sea Ogam letter correspondences
Letter: AE, X, XI, M
Tides for Alsea Bay
Day High Tide Height Sunrise Moon Time % Moon
~ /Low Time Feet Sunset Visible
Tu 29 Low 3:01 AM 1.6 7:50 AM Rise 2:35 AM 32
~ 29 High 9:32 AM 6.7 6:09 PM Set 3:36 PM
~ 29 Low 3:54 PM 2.3
~ 29 High 9:35 PM 6.0
Affirmation/Thought for the Day – Don’t ever become so busy, that you fail to realize how happy you are.
~ People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing- that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar
~ Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it; they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. – Steve Jobs
~ Try and fail, but don’t fail to try – Stephen Kaggawa
~ All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity. – Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) US Politician
If we teach school children the habit of being skeptical perhaps they will not restrict their skepticism to aspirin commercials and 35,000 year old channelers. Maybe they will start asking awkward questions about economic or social or political or religious institutions, and then where will we be? Skepticism is dangerous. In fact, it is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. That is exactly its function. – Carl Sagan
Magick – Samhain Foods
A Feast for the Living and the Dead: Traditional Day of the Dead Food and Drink – Posted by Sarah Menkedick on October 26, 2010 at 9:41am
Beautiful squash! When the squat, fat, brown calabazas begin appearing in the market, you know it’s time for the Day of the Dead. Here in Oaxaca, the calabazas – fatter, shorter, green-brown Mexican versions of pumpkins – started appearing about a week ago, alongside blinding orange marigolds (also known as /la flor de muertos/, the flower of the dead), heaping piles of chocolate, and the characteristic bread of the dead with its rich yellow hue and a little sugar skull on top.
With Dia de los Muertos just around the corner, Mexicans are preparing altars, planning fiestas, and most importantly, cooking. The traditional food surrounding Dia de los Muertos tends to be sweet, the kind of indulgent and luxurious treat that would entice a soul to return for a few days to its earthbound home. Muertos is all about indulgence, wooing the dead back to their families by way of food. The idea is that families will build altars to their dead relatives, decorating these altars with the dishes and drinks that their relatives loved.
The living can also indulge, celebrating the holiday by way of traditional food and drink. Not surprisingly, many Day of the Dead recipes revolve around pumpkin. In what might be the most popular Day of the Dead drink, pumpkin flesh is boiled, blended, and then heated with milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the slightest dash of pepper or anise to make atole de calabaza, or pumpkin atole. The result is a creamy, comforting fall drink that goes well with tamales and mola, year-round Mexican staples which most Mexicans indulge in around the Day of the Dead holiday.
Dulce de calabaza
Pumpkin is also used to make dulce de calabaza, (often translated as “pumpkin candy”) soft, crystallized pumpkin flesh cooked in brown sugar with slight hints of orange or lime . The process involved in making it can be simple or intensive, depending on how you’d like the end product to turn out. For a hands-off approach, boil the flesh of a whole pumpkin in just enough water to cover it, with either a cup of orange juice or the skin of an orange or mandarin, several cinnamon sticks, a touch of vanilla and several cones of piloncillo, a condensed Mexican version of brown sugar. Let the mixture boil for several hours until the liquid develops a syrupy texture, and then let it cool. With a dash of brown sugar on the top, it’s ready to eat. The intensive version involves soaking the pumpkin overnight in lime water, draining it, washing it, boiling it, coating it with sugar, and baking it.
Pan de Muertos
The most important Day of the Dead food is the pan de muertos or, rather ominously, the bread of the dead. This is a bread that is at once dense and light; it contains the weight of eggs, butter, and sometimes, shortening, but it maintains the flaky, fluffy quality of a good soft roll. The bread is called pan de yema at other times of the year, meaning “yolk bread”. It is made with four or more eggs and has a deep yellow color. What distinguishes pan de muertos from pan de yema is décor. Pan de muertos is often shaped into the figure of a skull, and long pieces of the dough are pressed into the top of the bread to resemble bones.
Mexicans do not share the same qualms as Americans in playing with and embracing the idea of death, and nowhere is this more evident than during the Day of the Dead. The food, drink, and fiesta are meant not to fend off death but to welcome it. Sugar skulls, easily sculpted from a mixture of powdered and granulated sugar, water, and meringue powder, adorn altars where glasses of pulque (a traditional liquor made of fermented corn), photographs, marigolds and the preferred treats of the dead are piled. The effect is one that makes you want to give in to the fiesta, eat a big plate of mole, have a glass, and another, and another, of mezcal, and spend the night in the graveyard dipping pan de muertos in a steaming cup of pumpkin atole.
Simple Dulce de Calabaza Recipe
1 medium pumpkin
1 dried mandarin/orange/lime peel
1-3 cinnamon sticks
4 piloncillo cones
sugar to taste
Directions: Cut the pumpkin into wedges. You can leave the skin and the seeds or remove them; it’s up to you. Traditionally, dulce de calabaza in Mexico is made with the seeds and skin intact. Leaving them, in my opinion, makes for a more aesthetically appealing wedge of pumpkin, but taking them out won’t drastically change the recipe. Cover the pumpkin with water and set it to boil. Once it begins boiling, add the dried peel of your choice, the piloncillo cones, and the cinnamon sticks. You can add as many sticks as you’d like to increase the cinnamon flavor. I love cinnamon, but if you’d prefer just a hint than maybe you’d choose to add a half-stick here. You can also add a touch of star anise and/or cloves as compliments. Bring the boil down to a simmer, and stir every 5 to 10 minutes to ensure the pumpkin is absorbing the ingredients. When the pumpkin has turned a rich brown and the water has taken on a syrupy consistency, the dulce de calabaza is almost finished. When you take it out of the pot, it should be soft and sticky, and the water should be a thick syrup. Leave it to cool for 5 or 10 minutes. You can eat it warm or at room temperature.
Pan de Muertos Recipe
5 cups of flour
1 cup of lukewarm water
8 spoonfuls of yeast
5 egg yolks
2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
3 spoonfuls of orange or lemon essence
2 eggs for glazing
A pinch of salt
Sugar for sprinkling on top
Directions: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix four spoonfuls of yeast with the cup of lukewarm water. Add a cup and a half of flour and knead until the mixture forms a small ball. Let sit for around 15 minutes or until the ball is double its original size. Sift flour, sugar and salt. Add eggs, yolks, butter, and orange essence, and knead well. Add the remaining yeast and the small ball of dough to the egg and butter mixture, and knead well. Set aside for one hour in a lukewarm area. Knead again and form the bread into loaves of your desired size. Set aside strips of dough to use for decoration. Beat the two remaining eggs and use them to glaze the loaves. Stick the strips of dough cross-wise atop the loaves, using the eggs as a glaze. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 40 or 50 minutes.
Pumpkin Atole Recipe
1 medium-sized pumpkin
1-2 cups of brown sugar, or 1-2 piloncillo cones
1 quart of milk
pinch of star anise
Directions: Cut the pumpkin into wedges and remove the seeds. Boil with cinnamon sticks until soft. Remove the skin if desired. Blend the pumpkin until creamy. Boil it again, this time adding the quart of milk (you can add more or less to make a thinner or thicker atole), the brown sugar (again, you can vary according to your desired level of sweetness) and the pinch of star anise. Boil on low heat until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Serve with a cinnamon stick as a garnish. To learn more about the Day of the Dead, see Wikipedia’s very informative article
A blonde goes into work one morning, crying her eyes out. Her boss, always one to be concerned about all of his employees’ well-being, asked sympathetically, “What’s the matter?”
The blonde replied, “Early this morning I got a phone call informing me that my mother had passed away.”
Feeling very sorry for her, the boss tells her, “Why don’t you go home for the day; we aren’t terribly busy so just take the rest of the day off to rest and relax.”
The blonde, calmly states, “No. I’d be better off here. I need to keep my mind off it and I have a better chance of doing that here.”
The boss agrees with her and allows her to work as usual. “If you need anything, just let me know, ” he adds.
A few hours pass and the boss decides to check on the blonde. He looks out over his office and sees the blonde crying hysterically.
He rushes over to her and asks, “Are you gonna be okay?”
She replies, “No I’m not. I just got some more horrible news!”
He asks, “What has happened now?”
She answers, “I just got a call from my sister who told me her mother also died!”